Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Running Sick

Started feeling sick halfway through my overnight shift Saturday into Sunday.  Ironically, I had volunteered to cover for a colleague who had to call out sick for several day (a painful sacrifice on my part, but to be rewarded with 2 fewer overnight and weekend shifts in December).

I often feel off during my overnights, or when I'm just really short of sleep, or have been working too much recently or too long at a stretch.  I can get nauseated, my stool loose.  I can feel dizzy to the point that my gait is a little unsteady.  So it wasn't 100% clear that I was really coming down with the stomach flu that hit my kids the week before, or being affected by what I'm always getting bombarded with in the course of my work-- germs.

After a few hours post-shift sleeping in the call room, I couldn't get back to sleep.  It was time to go home.  I hadn't driven to the BART station the night before, and my wife was at the gym with the kids, so I would have to cover 3.7 miles by foot.  (And okay, I confess that even if she were home, I probably wouldn't ask her to pick me up.)

With my work schedule and my kids getting sick in tandem, I had only had a few hours to run since Firetrails 50 (on Saturday the 9th).  On a couple of runs I thought of intentionally holding back to try a really relaxed pace-- one that I would be able to continue for 24 hours.  But no matter what, I couldn't settle into anything slower than an 8:30-minute mile.  With limited time, I decided I should make the most of the limited time I had to train, so would give up and pick up the pace.

Heading out of the station on Sunday morning, I thought my illness might give me the chance to do some better pacing practice for my upcoming PCTR race.  I looked at my Garmin through a light drizzle and found myself settling into a 9:45-minute pace.  I wasn't breathing very hard, but indeed I couldn't go any faster.  There simply was no energy.  Curiously, I didn't feel like I was going to throw up or pass out.  However, I knew I was sick, because sleep deprivation and Circadian disruption normally doesn't slow me down this much on my shortest running commute.

By the last mile, my average pace had upped to 9:55 minutes per mile.  If there was an initial immune system boost from being outside and breathing some fresh air, it started to be undone.  Pretty soon, my body was telling me it didn't like my decision.  Anything over three miles is TOO MUCH.  Some hint that if this continued much longer I would throw up or pass out.  You are overdoing it!

To put this into context, 10 minutes per mile in a 24 hour race is 6 miles per hour which calculates to 144 miles, a very respectable pace and distance, and more than Brian Krogmann's San Francisco One Day course record set last October.  So the effect of this particular virus =  nausea without diarrhea + malaise + fatigue + chills but no fever + headache + the cumulative decelerating effect of running 24 hours around and around in an oval real damn fast.

I think I'm finally fully recovered, though I still feel like sleeping more than normal.   The only day I have to get in a run is Friday, but being the day before the race, guess I'm not.  HUGE unintentional over-taper.  

Well, I guess I get 24 hours this weekend to make up some mileage.  As long as my immune system holds up, should be a blast!


Derrick said...

Running sick just isn't fun. Hope you're feeling better quickly.

Good luck this weekend.

ToshiMoshi said...

take care and be ready to get wet... chance of rain on Sat and Sun. I'll go see you in the afternoon since my fiancee and I are going to see madama butterfly in the city!

Hone said...

Have fun out there and 144 miles should be a piece of cake because of the over-taper!

Being sick isn't fun but it does allow the body to heal up quite nicely.

Baldwyn said...

That guy in that painting is almost as skinny as you! Thank you for revealing that sometimes even YOU have trouble with 3 miles. Hope you feel better by the weekend, and have a blast at SF One Day! Lemme know if you need extra Garmins, both mine are probably free.

Steve said...

Glad to hear you're on the mend, Mark. I too am in the same boat, being sick last week and now feeling normal for the first time in over a week. I hope the family is well.

shenx said...

Running sick is not fun... take a rest and get some stamina.
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